Gay couple bashed in Santa Fe, N.M.

BY admin

March 02 2005 12:00 AM ET

Three Santa Fe, N.M., men have been accused of beating a gay man unconscious while yelling antigay slurs. James Maestas, 21, of Santa Fe remained hospitalized Tuesday, but hospital officials would not release information about his condition at his family's request. A second man, Joshua Stockham, 24, of Albuquerque was treated for minor injuries and released.

Gabriel Maturin, 20, and Isaia Medina, 19, face charges of aggravated battery, conspiracy, and battery. David Trinidad, 17, whose case is in children's court, faces similar charges plus a count of criminal damage to property, Assistant District Attorney Heidi Pircher said. Trinidad currently is on probation for raping a 4 1/2-year-old boy, she said.

District Attorney Henry Valdez said that under New Mexico's 2003 hate-crimes law all three could be sentenced to an extra year if convicted. Court records, which indicated that Maestas and Stockham are in a relationship, said they and female friends went to a Denny's restaurant, where Trinidad waited on them. According to a statement for probable cause for the arrests, Maturin, Medina, and three other men confronted Stockham and Maestas outside the restaurant. Maturin told police he became offended when one of the pair put his hand on Maturin's chest. Stockham and Maestas and their friends drove away as the group, joined by Trinidad, threw rocks at their car.

Trinidad had overheard where the two men were staying, and the group went to that nearby motel. Maturin and Medina attacked Maestas while Trinidad and another man hit Stockham, the statement read. "Maturin said that as he approached them he saw the two victims kissing, and he pushed them and started punching victim Maestas," court records state. "He said he was joined by suspect Isaia Medina, who, according to Maturin, really started 'pounding' the victim."

According to Albuquerque TV station KRQE, Maestas was beaten unconscious. "He was found by a stairwell in the hotel. He had been beaten pretty severely. He sustained several facial and head injuries," said Eric Johnson of the Santa Fe police department. Police say Maestas was in critical condition Monday at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, where he was on a respirator.

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